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Eat & Drink

The top 12 sake bars and restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / October 8, 2013

Sake TorontoSake in Toronto used to be a rare find. Then along came the Guus, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company and a parade of izakayas. Even the LCBO got into the act and started stocking up. Of course, the logical next step is the emergence of the sake based cocktail into the local bar scene. We're not quite there yet, but to introduce this list of the top spots in Toronto to partake in Japan's national beverage of choice I thought I'll tell you what to drink when you get there.

Here's a list of some of 12 Toronto bars and restaurants that know their sake and the sake cocktail that just might make them famous. Kanpai!

Nikai
Nikai, the second floor cocktail lounge at Momofuku's University Avenue address, mixes up dangerously-easy-to-drink Momoiro Sours with Izumi (spring water) sake, shiso, rosemary and lime.

Guu Sakabar
Guu's two downtown locations mix up Sake Mojitos which are a spin on the Cuban highball standard made with muddled mint and topped with sake, plum wine and a splash of Ramune (a house made Japanese soda).

Black Dice
This Japanese Rockabilly bar situated in Brockton Village is well known for its selection of sake based cocktails. Try the Rising Sun, a tart lime and sake-based drink that's sweet finish is owed to maraschino cherries and syrup a the bottom.

JaBistro
This modern Japanese restaurant on Richmond offers a couple sake-base cocktails such as the Railroad Man - a frothy refreshment made with sake, Cointreau, lemon, egg whites and sweetened with simple syrup

Blowfish on Bay
This splurge sushi spot boasts a pair of downtown locations that do up 5oz sake sangrias in flavours like watermelon mint which is made with sake, Torrontés, prosecco, fresh mint and fresh juices. Alternatively, try the Cherry Cherry with sake, shiraz, creme de cassis, prosecco, mint, lime and cherry juice.

Maru & Maru
The Sakelini, a sake version of a Bellini, at this Willowdale restaurant combines the delicate rice-based wine with mango nectar that's then finished with a splash of bubbly.

Lee
Susur Lee's flagship restaurant on King West is well loved for its unique cocktails. The Saketini is a classic that starts with Moonstone plum sake and Tozai Living Jewel Junmai Sake (one of the purest grades of sake around) plus Belvedere vodka, yuzu juice and flower petals to finish.

Ryoji
This College Street ramen and izakaya spot offers a fresh take on the Canadian classic. Their Sake Caesar blends sake with Clamato and spices for a savoury bevy.

Yuzu Izakaya
Situated in Koreatown North, this Japanese pub is a prime spot of late night drinks and late night eats. The popular Yuzu Sour sees the house sake mixed with yuzu and lemon juice and sweetened (just slightly) with simple syrup.

Ki
This modern Japanese restaurant and bar in the Financial District sells something called the Kyushu Cosmo which is a martini that mixes Tanaka Moonlight shochu and Moonstone plum sake with tart cranberry, freshly squeeze lime and a dusting of li hing mui, a salty dried plum.

Hapa Izakaya
The Toronto outpost of this Vancouver izakaya chain does a Pear Sake Cocktail - a 2oz pear-infused sake cocktail with Absolut Pear vodka, Triple Sec and fragrant lemongrass.

Ontario Spring Water Sake Company
Not a bar or a restaurant but an actual sake brewery, this Distillery District spot is the source for many of the fresh pressed sakes on this list. The brewer offers various bottles of sake to take home as well as an array of mixed drinks like the Sakepolitan, a rice wine-based twist on the classic pink drink made with fine lees (sediment), cranberry juice and Sprite.

MAP

Discussion

13 Comments

anotherone / October 8, 2013 at 03:02 pm
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For god Sake with these lists.
Me replying to a comment from anotherone / October 8, 2013 at 04:39 pm
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I *LOVE* these lists, so SHUT UP!
Random Turd / October 8, 2013 at 04:40 pm
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WHAT!? You forgot to mention [insert my favourite place here].
Shame on you!
no chance/ replying to a comment from Me / October 8, 2013 at 04:47 pm
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No you don't.

Thats a simple fact.
Jules / October 8, 2013 at 08:46 pm
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Are these SAKE BARS, or bars that serve Sake BIG DIFF!!! BIG DIFF!!
we can do better / October 9, 2013 at 09:45 am
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For fucks sake, thats a pretty short list.
Quizzie / October 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm
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I am disappointed. No one has stepped forward to say that there is no authentic Japanese food or sake in Toronto, and they know this for a fact because they lived in Japan for nearly a week and a half once. :(
ken / October 9, 2013 at 06:30 pm
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Don Don has the largest sake selection in the city and is the closest thing to an actual sake bar. Weird how that is not there.
Yvonne / October 10, 2013 at 02:03 am
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Shut up Quizzie the twat. of course there're authentic Japanese food and sake in Toronto. Hipsters love them!!! yes Toronto is full of pretentious hipsters!!! god bless. Yvonne said so bitches!!!
Kez / March 27, 2014 at 09:23 pm
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Bent Restaurant has a decent sake list (Ginjos/Daiginjos etc) and sells bottles half price on Tuesday.
RM replying to a comment from anotherone / October 1, 2014 at 12:21 am
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Heh, I see what you did there.
randy jackson replying to a comment from we can do better / October 1, 2014 at 12:39 am
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hahaha NICE!^^
Christian / October 1, 2014 at 01:29 pm
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Very misleading title. It should be "12 restaurants in Toronto that serve sake-based cocktails". There is no such thing as a sake bar in Toronto. This is a sake bar: http://www.villagevoice.com/locations/decibel-147836/

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